From The Team
From The Team

Articles From the Team

What discipline should I quality into as a March NQ solicitor?

Most of us have a clear idea of the direction we want our careers to go in, but sometimes this isn’t the case due to factors beyond our control. This is particularly so for the newly qualified lawyer.

Whether it’s down to limited opportunities at your current firm, a lack of appetite to recruit into a certain discipline, or wider market disruption, it’s certainly worthwhile taking the time to have a hard think.

Here are a few points for consideration:

  • Which seat did you most enjoy during your training contract? Don't be influenced by the team as that can always change, try to think solely about the area of law itself.
  • In which seat did you receive the best appraisals? It may be that you have a natural flair in a particular area of law.
  • How abundant are the opportunities in this discipline? Consider your future prospects; qualifying into an area where there’s a shortage of lawyers will ensure there are plenty of options for you as your career progresses. Qualifying into an area where there’s less competition can also mean you work your way up the career ladder more quickly.
  • Consider areas of growth. For example, commercial is really busy at the moment, particularly in the IT and energy sectors - these fast growing areas will provide stability for the future.
  • What is really important to you?  Do you love corporate work but not the unsociable and often unpredictable hours? If so, a role within a steadier discipline may be better suited to your lifestyle, particularly if you have family commitments. From time to time you’ll have to work late – this is certainly truer for certain disciplines.
  • What are your long term aspirations? Do you want to move in-house at some point? If so, then areas like litigation and corporate may make it trickier to open those doors.

As specialist legal recruiters, we’re able to advise you on market conditions. For example, you might want to know the areas that have a lack of suitably qualified lawyers (currently, these are corporate, tax, banking and commercial property). If you decide to pursue your career in any of these areas then you should have a number of options open to you. There’s also always a shortage of good construction or pensions lawyers, so again, these are good areas to qualify into (provided you have a genuine interest in them!).

If you don't secure a role with your training firm, then outside opportunities in employment, family, private client or commercial litigation are probably the most scarce so if these are areas of particular interest to you then a back-up plan is recommended.

If you find yourself qualifying into an area that wasn’t your first choice, ensure that the skills you gain in that area will complement your preferred area so that the option to refocus your experience later on is open to you. For example, if you want to specialise in banking but can't find a position, consider corporate roles where the transactional experience you gain will transfer well to a banking role.

There are no hard and fast rules when deciding, which is why we'd always recommend you speak to a specialist legal recruiter well in advance of your qualification date.

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